Former President Peter Mutharika has called on estates in Thyolo, Mulanje and Chikwawa to give idle land to people in the three districts and help fight hunger in the Lhomwe Belt.
Speaking yesterday at the Mulhako Cultural Festival, the former Malawi President said many people in the Lhomwe belt are struggling because they do not have land.
He said there are tea, tobacco and macadamia estates in the region which have vast areas of idle land. Mutharika pleaded with the estates to give such land to people.
“People here are struggling because they do not have jobs, houses, land or money. I am asking estate owners to assist people in this region,” said Mutharika.
For years, activists have been calling on Government to ensure that people from Mulanje and Thyolo are given back all the idle pieces of land which the activist say were illegally grabbed from their ancestors by British nationals.
In 2016, while Mutharika was president, activist Vincent Wandale of the People’s Land Organisation (PLO) asked government find a solution to land issues in Mulanje and Thyolo.
Wandale later mobilised hundreds of villagers who invaded Conforzi Tea Estate with an aim of distributing part of the estate land they claimed was left idle for many years. The group was arrested by Police with Mutharika’s government siding with the estate saying the land left idle was standard practice aimed which requires that “sufficient land is left to conserve natural habitat.”
Last year, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) also wrote the President Lazarus Chakwera bringing to his attention the issue of land in these two districts and highlighting to him how the leaders that came before him smartly dogged the matter.
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